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Seniors Invited to Inaugural Art Showcase on May 15

View paintings and wood carvings by talented local artists

Sometimes creativity blooms in retirement, when adults finally have time to develop and express their artistic talent. Each week, the Naperville Park District provides time, space and encouragement from other artists in the Drop-In Painting Group and the Drop-In Woodcarving Group as part of the ongoing programs for seniors at the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center in downtown Naperville.

Coming Wednesday, May 15 is the first-ever Art Showcase, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in Community Hall at the Rubin Center, 305 W. Jackson Ave., where senior artists in the painting and woodcarving groups will exhibit their beautiful artwork. This event is free and is for adults age 50 and up.

Participants will be able to talk with the artists, some of whom exhibit their artwork regularly in local juried shows and have been honing their skills for many years. Other artists joined the group after a few lessons and have flourished in their creativity in the friendly environment. New participants in the painting or woodcarving groups are always welcome. Those attending the Showcase will have the chance to ask questions about the drop-in groups and art classes available in the area.

One of the artists, Rita Ocenasek, tells of the impact the Drop-In Painting Group has had on her life, after being forced into retirement due to the economic changes over the past ten years. “In 2015 I came across the Naperville Park District Program Guide describing the painting group. After attending only a few sessions I could feel my self-respect coming back. The pieces I’ve completed for our Showcase will hopefully show how much satisfaction and pride I’ve received from this program.”

The teacher of the woodcarving group, Shelly Weiser, began woodcarving at the age of 75 and is still going strong in his early 90s. “It’s a great hobby; it keeps you moving,” said Shelly. “I encourage anyone with an interest in developing a hobby like carving to try it.  I had no idea that I could do it until I tried.”


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Funds raised through the Naperville Parks Foundation support the Naperville Park District’s Fee Assistance Program. The Naperville Parks Foundation supports the recreation needs and desires of the residents of Naperville – encouraging health and wellness, fitness, family time, and fun. The Foundation supports the mission of making recreation of all kinds accessible to everyone across the community, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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